The European Union and China held their 23rd bilateral Summit via videoconference on 1 April, bringing together President of the European Council Charles Michel, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang and President Xi Jinping.
The EU and China discussed extensively Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, the world’s economy, food and energy security, and the fight against COVID-19.
The EU called on China to support efforts to bring about an immediate end to the bloodshed in Ukraine, consistent with China’s role in the world as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, and its uniquely close relations with Russia.
“As major global powers, the EU and China must work together on stopping Russia’s war in Ukraine as soon as possible. We have a common responsibility to maintain peace and stability, and a safe and sustainable world,” Charles Michel said. “We count on China’s support to achieve a lasting ceasefire, to stop the unjustifiable war and address the dramatic humanitarian crisis it has generated.”
“We underlined that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is not only a defining moment for our continent, but also for our relationship with the rest of the world. There must be respect for international law, as well as for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said Ursula von der Leyen, adding that China, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has a special responsibility.
Referring to the tightening of sanctions against Russia, von der Leyen said that more than 40 countries in total have joined these sanctions. “So we also made it very clear that China should, if not support, at least not interfere with our sanctions,” she stated in a joint press conference following the summit.
She also said that in terms of bilateral trade between the EU and China, continuing business with Russia carries great reputational risks: “This is a question of trust, of reliability and, of course, of decisions on long-term investments. Let me remind you that every day, China and the European Union trade almost €2 billion worth of goods and services. In comparison, trade between China and Russia is only some €330 million per day. So a prolongation of the war, and the disruptions it brings to the world economy, is therefore in no-one’s interest, certainly not in China’s.”
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